12 December 2014

Conserve and Decentralize Energy

There's no free ride when it comes to generating energy. Even the cleanest sources have environmental consequences. Materials for all power-generating facilities have to be obtained and transported, and infrastructure must be built, maintained and eventually decommissioned. Wind turbines take up space and can harm wildlife. Hydro floods agricultural land and alters water cycles.

That's why conservation is the best way to reduce energy-consumption impacts. Reductions in energy use and investment in energy-efficiency technologies are so significant that the International Energy Agency refers to conservation as the "first fuel".

No matter how good we get at conserving, though, we'll always need energy, so we must find ways to employ the least damaging technologies and reduce negative effects. We know the world's preferred, and currently cheapest, method to generate power — burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas — is the most destructive, causing pollution, global warming and massive environmental damage during extraction, transport, refining and use. And supplies are becoming more difficult to obtain and will eventually run out.

With the price of photovoltaic cells down below one dollar US per watt, in many places, (and that it even works in our latitude)...it's a very good investment in your path towards sustainability. I encourage the R and D which is being done on various battery storage techniques.

Conserve...then look to alternative energy. And De-Centralize...

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